The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

Wherefore art thou, Missiles?

Flying Zionist Object

Rusty over at The Jawa Report has analyzed the photo of an Israeli "missile" that's been floating around the internet for a few days now. I was e-mailed a tip about it by astute reader Frank W. over the weekend, and didn't see anything beyond reproach in the picture. While there are some artefacts in the photograph around the missile, they seem to be due to the electronic transmission medium (i.e., JPEG) that the newswires use to put photos like this online. (You can bet that if the photo is reprinted in a magazine, it would be crystal-clear.)

Rusty asks,

Doesn't it seem odd that the two photogs would be standing side by side at the exact moment that an Israeli missile

Rusty, of course these photographers are standing side-by-side. That is a staple of modern photojournalism. See my banner above for starters.

Photographers travel in packs, partly for safety reasons, partly because they are all competing to capture the same dramatic scenes.

When I covered the events of that day as they unfolded (thanks for not linking back then, Rusty... wink), it was clear that a handful of wire photographers were all on site together, covering a Palestinian "swarm" of a bombed Hamas base camp. The ensuing scenes of carrying victims look laughable, but given that an explosion just went off nearby, it's not beyond reproach to think that someone could have genuinely been injured, either by flying debris, or by concussion. (The emotion displayed for the cameras may or may not have been genuine, of course.)

I hate it when there's no conspiracy to be had, but this definitely seems to be one of those cases... The all-knowing Allah has more on this photo as well. See Ace if you're looking for snark.

I'll dig up some other obvious examples of photographer-swarming shortly. I've definitely got a handful here in Ye Olde Archives. Stay tuned for more, folks!

Update: Alright, I'm finally on a high-enough-speed connection that I can make this happen. I'll be updating here for a few minutes, so keep your eyes peeled and your "Reload" button loaded...

3 photographers, 1 subject—It would seem that all three of these photographers "accidentally" happened on the same idea for a shot, an "innocent" Palestinian mother and child.

I'll be putting the rest beyond the fold, if you're interested!

Update: Rusty has been sent the real versions of these photos, which are definitely worth a see. Maybe I was wrong... and thank you kindly for the linkage, sir!

Update again: An astute AoSHQ reader points out that the projectile is most likely a Paveway II.

Tools of Opportunity... (click to zoom)
Back to our swarms of photojournalists...

3 photographers, many aspiring wet marks—When a terrorist group holds a press conference in the Palestinian terror-tories, our photographers are sure to be there. Far be it from me to infer that the photographers collude with these thug(ette)s, though...

2 photographers, 1 hopeful victim—Every event involving terrorists draws photographers, eager and willing to tell the thug's stories as fact.

The locals have learned that burning stuff is a quick way to get some fame. More on the Media-Terrorist Complex can be found over at Elder's joint.

And of course, faux-funerals are always a very popular pastime for photographers.

You'll pick up on the worst offenders very quickly, by the way: They're all listed on the right-hand side of your screen, under the heading "Tag Browser." (In order to be listed there, the photographer in question must have been noticed at least 5 times by me... and the numbers are adding up so quickly, I'll have to increase that threshold soon!)
Representing the Propagandists are Abed Omar Qusini, Adel Hana, Hatem Moussa, Ibraheem Abu Mustafa, and the Muhammeds (just see the sidebar for links here, they're too numerous to recount again).

If the press had a single ounce of credibility, it would fire and disassociate itself from these base propagandists immediately. Of course, as we all know, the press does not care about being impartial—They will continue to report only events which show Israel and the United States in a negative light.

I guess that's the price we have to pay for dumbing down our schools here in the United States for as long as we have. It's a sad commentary to our nation that we cannot find a single editor that is willing to honestly report the news as it is, rather than using their positions as a tool against the "hegemonic, imperial" powers of the Western nations. (Well, okay, there is at least one out there—keep up the great work, Jules!)

  Human Shields


#1 LTC8K6 30-May-2007
Your illustrations of the Paveways are with the fins retracted as they would be while on the aircraft or in storage. When the Paveway is released, much longer fins spring out at the rear. A Paveway 2 in flight should have very obvious long rear fins deployed.

The below illustration shows what the gbu-12 should look like just after release, with the longer rear fins sprung open forwards.
#2 MathGeek 30-May-2007
There is a much easier way to determine if the picture is staged, math. we have 3 photos to work with. we canuse the size of the projectile in the photo to estimate it's rangefrom the camera and use trigonemtry to estimate the height off the ground of the projectile and its distance from the man running in the foreground. then it is a simple matter of velocities. the bomb/missile would be accelerating at at least 9.8m/s^2 from a height of at least 1000m. this gives us a rough timeframe for the time between the photos (if they are real) we can check that against the distance traved by the people in the picture. I've done some rough calculations using a compass from a printout of the photos and the man in the foreground woul have to be an olympic sprinter for the photos to be legit. It does not seem like he is running all that fast from the photos either. It's not comclusive since I have not measured acurately enough but anyone with a decent knowledge of physics could firm up those numbers and make them very accurate. I simply lack the interest to do so.
#3 Brian C. Ledbetter 30-May-2007
Thanks for the tip, MG! I just finished up a semester of Calculus 3 (my 4th time taking it, give or take), and I can definitely assure you that most of that went waaaay over my head.

I do want to make clear—we are dealing with [b]one and only one[/b] photograph of a missile, which has been cropped a dozen times by the news service which released it. Check out these two photographs and see if the distances jibe, because they're most definitely taken *seconds* apart:

Most Respectfully,
#4 Brian H 31-May-2007
Never mind the missile, you propeller-heads! The crowd -- in the second photo, only the front guy has even ONE foot? All the others are running on stumps, cut off at just above ankle level. Must be incredibly painful.

Also -- magic depth of focus plus shutter speed high enough to stop a missile in mid-air? Nah. That focal depth requires a VERY high f-stop, almost a pinhole exposure. No way with a fast shutter. One or the other, not both.

Oh, and again in the second photo, no shadows. All the runners float in midair without blocking light. All genies, no doubt.

(The same objections apply in the first photo, but it's not as blatant.)

Fake. Bogus. BS.
#5 Bob Foster 31-May-2007
I'm not an expert on photoshop, so I can't comment on the technicalities of photo manipulation. All I can say is that if that 'missile' is a GBU-12 as it appears to be, then there should be 4 large fins at the rear to stabilise it. These are not present. The only way to get an inflight shot of a GBU-12 with no fins is in the few seconds immediately after release and before the fins deploy. I can't say for sure whether it is fake, although I believe it may well be. The other photos certainly have been manipulated, or at least staged.
#6 Brian C. Ledbetter 31-May-2007
Brian H,

Do you see how part of the man's foot is occluded by a yellowish color in the second picture? The lack of feet can easily be explained by pointing out that the people pictured are running through a dry grass, which is not uncommon to that area of the world (or parts of California, for that matter).

I also see shadows in the second photo, look to the southeast (lower-right) of each figure pictured, and you'll see a darkened area. The unevenness can also be explained by the nature of the grass they're running through, but it's definitely a shadow...

Again, I'm not one to dismiss a scandal if there's one to be had, but given this evidence, I don't see one.

Most Respectfully,
#7 Brian C. Ledbetter 31-May-2007

Are there any situations in which a GBU-12 would be dropped without deploying the fins? I.e., perhaps when it's filled with an inert concrete instead of explosives?

I look forward to hearing more, sir!

#8 Brian+H 31-May-2007
Sorry, Brian. One foot, or two,might be occluded by grass. But not ALL of them. And grass has texture of its own; when stepped on it shows strips and gaps. EVERY foot is covered entirely, and in exactly the same way. If you ever see something like that in another photo, pls post it.

Also, many of the legs are in the air, in a normal running motion. Those feet would show.

Compare the "shadows" (faint and unclear though they are) in the first with the almost total absence in the second. Not even a hint. With the near perfect focus and sharpness of the bodies and faces etc. there is no reason to not have equally sharp shadows.

And finally -- my comments about focal length and exposure time are crucial. You can't have infinite focal depth and fast shutter speed together, unless, as someone wisecracked, you have ASA 100,000 film. (400 is as fast as it usually gets; professionals might use 1200. And the trade-off is graininess. These photos are SHARP, no grain visible.) So there are several technical implausibilities of a high order here.

Fake. Bogus. BS.
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